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  1. until
    Virtual Parent Workshop: Nutrition Join us for this special presentation on nutrition. First, we will have Ariana Luster, MS, RD, LDN a school nutrition specialist and registered dietitian from CPS kick us off. Ariana will talk about the commitments CPS is making towards nutrition. Livia will follow up with a presentation on Four Secrets to Improving Your Child’s Picky Eating Habits. Livia Ly, MS, RD, LDN is a registered & licensed dietitian, nutritionist, and one of our wonderful Lincoln Park ELC Alumni parents. Please join us on Google Meet: meet.google.com/wdb-kavi-xhi. No RSVP required. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: livia.ly@nutri.ly.
  2. There aren’t many topics that seem to ruffle feathers like the “Gentle Parenting” debate. And honestly, it makes so much sense. At some point the term Gentle Parenting came to be associated with permissive parenting, lack of boundaries, and parents who seemingly never get upset or raise their voice above 50 decibels. And while I didn’t coin the phrase, and I’m not too interested in defending the beast that gentle parenting has become, I will fiercely defend the parenting approach that I think it was trying to be. We love labels and categories, a quick google search on parenting approaches will turn up phrases like: gentle parenting, attachment parenting, connected parenting, permissive parenting, traditional parenting, conscious parenting, etc. But you don’t have to pay attention to any of that. If there is one thing I believe all parents need to understand, it’s that the best outcomes for our children depend on parenting in a way that builds a secure attachment between them (kids) and us (parents). And good luck trying to rebrand attachment theory, it’s grounded in decades of research. Its purpose and good name is here to stay! In my transformational parenting program The Empowered Parent: 90 Days to Parenting with Confidence, Pride, and Success, I lead parents to build this securely attached relationship with their children. And while my clients tackle aspects of parenting both deep and wide reaching, there is some myth busting that almost always takes place. So let’s set the record straight on three arguments I come across a lot. They’ll never be ready for the “real world” - which isn’t gentle at all. Yep! The world isn’t gentle. And guess what! Our kids are already living in that world. They experience pain, confusion, and heartache just as we do. They endure the death of family members, friends move away, they attend a new school, they encounter mistreatment, they witness images of violence. And they do all of this before they have a fully developed brain that could make better sense of it all. The world is tough, and we don’t need to be a source of that toughness. Instead, we provide security and safety. This is how our children grow to have resilience when they face hardships. The resilience is a result of having a safe and secure base in us to come home to. You can’t just let kids do whatever they want. I don’t know that anyone who understands attachment theory would advocate for letting kids do whatever they want - children need boundaries. I do however know that when parents move away from a mindset of needing to control their children and hold power over them, they see more cooperation and mutual respect. Think of your parenting as a set of guardrails along a path. If the guardrails are very narrow, our kids will constantly bump into them, causing friction and frustration for all of us. If the guardrails are too far apart or not present at all, our kids lack safety and reliable ways to learn from our leadership and presence. But when the guardrails are just right, we allow our children to explore, learn from mistakes with natural consequences, and provide the safety and leadership of thoughtful boundaries. Sometimes kids just manipulate for attention. This one may be half true! While I don’t think children misbehave to manipulate, I do think that a need for connection (i.e. attention) can show up with undesirable behavior. In her book Beyond Behaviors, Dr. Mona Delahooke explains that all behavior is communication. If we are able to shift from a behaviorist mindset that solely looks at behavior as something to be rewarded or punished, we are then free to examine beneath the surface and uncover the underlying cause of a child’s behavior. Often, our examination will reveal a child’s unmet need or an underdeveloped skill. At the simplest level, a newborn doesn’t cry to manipulate us. A newborn cries to get a need met - for example the need to be fed. And an infant hasn’t yet developed the skills (i.e. brain development) to ask for food with words or sign language. A key piece to the 90 day Empowered Parent Accelerator program is growing in knowledge of our child’s brain development. Understanding this development can make all the difference in how we respond to behavior - and probably most importantly the story we tell ourselves (and our children) about who our children are at their core.
  3. NPN Amy J.

    Head, Heart, Hand Parenting

    In this video, join Reena Vohra Morgan of Hive Educational Consulting and Parent Coaching as she shares a parent-centric framework grounded in attachment theory, brain science, and responsive parenting strategies. In this introductory workshop, you will learn ten pillars that can help you develop healthier family relationships and bring more peace, calm, and joy to your home. This session is useful for parents with children of any age, from 0 to adulthood. This video was recorded live on 8/11/23.
  4. NPN Amy J.

    Head, Heart, Hand Parenting

    until
    Join Reena Vohra Morgan of Hive Educational Consulting as she shares a parent centric framework grounded in attachment theory, brain science and responsive parenting strategies. In this introductory workshop, you will learn ten pillars that can help you develop healthier family relationships and bring more peace, calm, and joy to your home. This session is useful for parents with children of any age, from 0 to adulthood. Reena Vohra Morgan is a mother to three children and has over twenty years of experience in education. She holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Development, Montessori certificates, and is a Jai Certified Parenting Coach. In combination with theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and compassion, Reena uses a strengths-based, reflective approach to coach and empower educators and parents. She offers concrete strategies, tools, and manageable action plans to support adults who interact directly with children. Reena is certified in positive discipline and Resources for Infant EduCareers (REI). Reena resides in Chicago with her family. Questions? Contact Amy at amy@npnparents.org.
  5. until
    According to a 2017 APA Stress survey, 83 percent of teens identify school as a major stressor. Pressure to succeed academically in school has been shown to increase overall stress and anxiety in students. Knowing this, NPN will talk with schools about how they are thinking about academic pressures in regards to their middle school and high school programs. What are schools doing to alleviate student stress? What tools are they offering parents and students to set realistic expectations and encourage a balanced school experience? Join us as we tackle this topic with our esteemed panels of presenters. Our Esteemed Presenters Are: Martin Moran, Lead Designer of Middle and Upper School, Bennett Day School Anna Carey, Assistant Headteacher, British International School of Chicago, South Loop Sarah Moon-Sarudi, Assistant Principal of Student Support, Walter Payton College Prep Tiffany Brownridge, Counselor, Whitney Young Magnet High School Thank you to our panelist sponsors: Bennett Day School and British International School of Chicago, South Loop
  6. Does your child struggle with focus, irritability, or sleeping? Have you noticed that your child has become more clingy, fidgety, or finicky with food? Are you concerned about a change you observe in your child's behavior? Trying to figure out what is the root cause of a change in a child's behavior can be overwhelming. Well, NPN is here to help. In this session, we will discuss anxiety and bring clarity around what anxiety symptoms look like, when a diagnosis is appropriate, and what supportive resources and treatments are available. This webinar is for children ages 2 - 8 years old who are neurodiverse or neurotypical. Our Esteemed Panelist: Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, Ph.D., Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services Dr. Bill Pasola, Psy.D., Psychotherapist, Smart Love Family Services
  7. Choosing the right therapeutic preschool for your child can be an overwhelming task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. With so many different therapeutic approaches, how do you know which approach works for you and your family? In this discussion, you will learn about a variety of therapeutic preschool approaches, hear examples of good questions to ask and things to think about when you are researching therapeutic preschools, how insurance coverage works, and walk away confident in your ability to choose a therapeutic preschool that is a good fit for your family. Our Esteemed Panelists: Lorell Marin, M.Ed., LCSW, BCBA, DT, Founder/CVO, LEEP Forward., Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Director, Tuesday's Child, Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Preschool Programming & Developmental Therapy, PlayWorks Therapy Inc., Katelyn Suski, Director, Chicago Speech Therapy Academy, and Dr. Jennifer King, Director, Blue Bird Day Wheaton Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor LEEP Forward.
  8. This session is for parents who are concerned about their child’s development and/or trying to make sense of the many therapies available to support their child. In this session, we will discuss ABA, speech, and occupational therapy, individual talk therapy, and family therapy. We will explore how all or some of these therapies might work together to meet your child’s needs and what an approach that incorporates multiple therapies might look like.
  9. until
    Does your child struggle with focus, irritability, or sleeping? Have you noticed that your child has become more clingy, fidgety, or finicky with food? Are you concerned about a change you observe in your child's behavior? Trying to figure out what is the root cause of a change in a child's behavior can be overwhelming. Well, NPN is here to help. In this session, we will discuss anxiety and bring clarity around what anxiety symptoms look like, when a diagnosis is appropriate, and what supportive resources and treatments are available. This webinar is for children ages 2 - 8 years old who are neurodiverse or neurotypical. Our Esteemed Panelist: Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, Ph.D., Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services Dr. Bill Pasola, Psy.D., Psychotherapist, Smart Love Family Services
  10. until
    This session is for parents who are concerned about their child’s development and/or trying to make sense of the many therapies available to support their child. In this session we will discuss ABA, speech, and occupational therapy, individual talk therapy, and family therapy. We will explore how all or some of these therapies might work together to meet your child’s needs and what an approach that incorporates multiple therapies might look like. Our Esteemed Speaker: Arthur F. Jimenez MS ABA, BCBA, LBS1, Founder, B.E.T.H. Services, Ltd. Arthur F. Jimenez is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a licensed special education teacher. As a first-generation college graduate and a son of a parent who immigrated to this country, he understands the very real sacrifice and value, of family, community, and hard work. He is currently finishing his masters in counseling psychology to become a licensed therapist and is beginning his PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis to help develop a framework that works to serve and strengthen family dynamics to develop a language of acceptance and understanding for all individuals.
  11. until
    Why won't my toddler stay in his bed? Why is my toddler getting upset when we are going to do things she enjoys? How do I encourage using the potty? Get answers to your questions about toddler and preschooler behavior and development at Smart Love's 'In the Pursuit of Happiness' free parenting webinars. Parents can ask specific questions or get a general understanding of the meaning behind the behavior as Dr. Carla Beatrici, Smart Love's Director of Clinical Services, offers tips on how to respond in a manner that strengthens your relationship with your child and helps to create a happier, healthier home life. This a free, online event. Additional sessions: School-Age Children: January 19, 2023 @ 10:00 a.m. Teens: May 18, 2023 @ 10:00 a.m. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: amber.guenther@smartlovefamily.org.
  12. As a pediatric physical therapist, something I hear quite often in new assessments with families is that they "knew something wasn't quite right and had questions on it, but were told to wait and see if it was still a problem" at their next pediatrician visit. Many times, things do work themselves out with development for a variety of factors. Unfortunately, it's not every time. If gaining anything from this article, my advice as a physical therapist and as a parent myself is to trust your instincts. YOU know your child best. Early intervention has been statistically proven to shorten overall intervention times as well as improve results across all disciplines with children. The challenge with the “wait and see” recommendation is that earlier in your child's medical care at their primary pediatrician, you are seeing each other every four weeks. By the time you may have concerns, your check-in period is every three months. Three months is a long time in a child's first year of development: it's a quarter of their life! [Related: Preschool, or therapeutic preschool?] So how does a family pursue occupational, physical, or speech therapy for their child? There are a multitude of different ways to access services, which move along their corresponding timelines for each path. Here are some of your options: 1. Call a reputable, outpatient center or home-based service to provide therapy services. Turn around time to services: one to two weeks Look at online reviews, ask for others’ experiences in local parenting groups, access NPN’s referral list — any of these areas could be a good starting point to contact for an assessment for services. Most places will directly call a pediatrician for the prescription to be on file prior to the assessment. In Illinois, you do not need a prescription for physical therapy, as it is a direct-access state. This means that patients can refer themselves and receive ongoing treatment without an initial referral. Reputable outpatient service locations will still gain a referral and share treatment plans and evaluation results with a primary pediatrician, regardless of the state requirement. You can also ask for this to be done! This is the most direct and fastest way to receive services. This can also be the most costly, especially if you still have to meet an insurance deductible or do not have private insurance to access. If you are in a rush to prioritize services, an important question during this process is whether the outpatient center or private-based therapy service site providers are also in network with Illinois's Early Intervention system. (We'll review how to access both services down below.) 2. Call the Illinois Early Intervention program. Turn around time to services: six to 12 weeks, depending on availability Illinois has a robust Early Intervention program offered for children ages 0 to 3. Services included in Early Intervention are speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, developmental therapy, developmental vision therapy, developmental hearing therapy, feeding therapy, social work, nutrition services, and diagnostic referral services, to name a few. Services are typically provided in home, in a daycare, or via teletherapy, depending on a family's preference. [Related: What to look for in a therapeutic preschool] Families can call the child and family connection facility associated with their home address ZIP code to obtain an assessment and report concerns related to their child's development. Pediatricians or other physicians related to your child's care can also directly refer to the Early Intervention system. To begin Early Intervention services, your pediatrician must agree with and sign off on all recommended services after the assessment. After calling to schedule an assessment, it typically takes two weeks to receive a scheduled assessment. Following the evaluation, recommendations are made and new providers are searched for to provide the recommended frequency of services. This process in finding your child's provider team can at times be lengthy to get set up, depending on availability of clinicians in your area. Despite the issues with timely services, the benefits to using the Early Intervention system are great for families! Monthly family fees are assessed based on number of family members and overall household income. This family fee is set from $0 to $200 max per month. Early Intervention can act as your primary insurance (as in, the only insurance plan that is billed for therapy services), or it can act as your secondary insurance (e.g., the insurance to handle any unpaid amounts after visits are processed by your primary insurance plan). Because of this set up, Early Intervention can provide an extremely affordable and accessible means for therapy services for children up to the age of three. 3. Combination of utilizing private insurance and the Early Intervention system through the state of Illinois. Turn around time: one to two weeks to get started; up to three months to bring on Early Intervention coverage At times, when a problem has been identified, waiting several months for services can feel like a lifetime. This is where a provider that can initially work with your insurance plan, that has providers certified through the Early Intervention program, can work nicely. Think of it as billing just your primary insurance for the first weeks before Early Intervention can "kick in." Early Intervention can then be used primarily as your benefits plan or to help supplement your insurance plan. Finding an initial provider that provides both services is also helpful so that you do not have to get services started and then switch providers to a different facility. Hopefully this has been a useful guide to accessing services and pursuing early intervention for your child. Again, listen to your instincts, pursue help when needed, and don’t rely on “wait and see”: it could prove to take even more time to make gains with this approach.
  13. My 4 year old is starting preschool in the fall. This is not necessarily a remarkable event — kids start preschool the world over every year, of course — but given our circumstances and the horridness of local and world events since his birth, I feel this milestone is really something worth celebrating. [Related: Preschool, or therapeutic preschool?] Let’s start with my son himself. Julian is…how do I say this…a challenging child. He is hilarious, whip-smart, cute as hell and, when he wants to be, very sweet and cuddly. I’m wild about him. But hoo boy, is he intense. Intense opinions. Intense emotions. Intense moods. Even in utero, he made his presence known with morning sickness so intense I had to take anti-nausea meds right up until his birth. Then there was the colic, followed by torticollis that required physical therapy, then a flat head that required a helmet, followed by refusing to eat most foods that required food therapy. Then the pandemic hit. I took a leave from my job at NPN to parent Julian and help my older son with online school while my husband worked from home. Feeding therapy went away and, with it, all the Fs I had to give about what he ate, which admittedly felt pretty freeing. Then, three months into the pandemic, he started a wonderful nanny share and, for nearly two years, the other little boy often was his only playmate. Classes, play dates, birthday parties, swim lessons…all the things his older brother got to experience at Julian’s age? Until very recently, he didn’t get to do any of them. [Related: How I did my Chicago preschool search] So it’s with a lot of happiness and trepidation that my husband and I anticipate him starting preK at our neighborhood CPS school, where his brother already attends. Will Julian follow the rules? Adapt to the new routine? Play nicely with the other kids? Eat a lunch beyond Goldfish and a stick of cheese? These are questions all parents probably have before their child attends school for the first time, but his lack of experience with any kind of classroom and his relative social isolation have me worried. Odds are he’ll be just fine, and preK will do him immeasurable good. But until the jury is in, I will be on pins and needles. [Related: Preschool vs. pre-k: What's the difference?] And then, of course, are the other worries. Since Julian’s birth four years ago, the world has become an even scarier place. Rampant racism, mass shootings, mass shootings in schools, Covid, Covid restrictions, quarantines, horrific wars around the world, an ever-deepening political and social divide, a rolling back of our constitutional rights…just, wow. It’s a lot. Parents of the world, give yourself a pat on the back for just surviving the past few years. Yet I am hopeful. Hopeful for Julian starting this new (easier?) chapter, hopeful that there are good, decent people who are working hard with me to make this world better for him. He deserves it. We all do.
  14. NPN Tareema

    What is ABA Therapy?

    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can be an effective therapy for kids on the autism spectrum. For parents wondering how ABA works and whether it's right for their child, this live session will offer straightforward information and an opportunity to ask questions at the end. Speaker Rose McLean, pediatric physical therapist and owner of Chicago Pediatric Therapy and Wellness Center, will address: - The philosophy behind ABA therapy - Types of behaviors ABA can address - How to incorporate ABA into your child's schedule - How a child's progress is measured - And much more! About the Speaker: Rose McLean has been specializing in pediatrics since 2004. Upon graduating from Northwestern University with her doctorate in physical therapy, she began her career at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In the creation of the Chicago Pediatric Therapy & Wellness Center, she not only wanted families to have a center where multi-disciplinary communication and therapist collaboration for each child was a priority, but she also wanted recreational and educational programs available for families to access outside of their one-on-one therapy sessions.
  15. Have you noticed a regression in your child—behaviorally, developmentally or socially—since the start of the pandemic? You're far from alone. Join NPN for a webinar on how to detect and manage COVID regression, whether you have a child with special needs or a typically developing child in the crucial development years of 2–5. In this discussion, you will hear from behavioral specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and psychologists about the typical signs that your child may be experiencing developmental regression due to the pandemic. You will also learn about the strategies professionals are using, services that are available, and what activities you can do in the home to combat COVID-19 regression. Our esteemed panel consists of: Dr. Shay McManus, Neuropsychologist, Eyas Landing, Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, PhD, Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services, Lorell Marin, Founder, CEO & Therapist, LEEP Forward, Nicole Cissell, Clinical Director, BGF Children's Therapy, and Jason Wetherbee, Director of Clinical Services & Program Development, EB Pediatric Resources We appreciate our Supporting sponsors, Comprehensive Learning Services and LEEP Forward A special thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Eyas Landing
  16. NPN Tareema

    Webinar: What Is ABA Therapy?

    until
    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can be an effective therapy for kids on the autism spectrum. For parents wondering how ABA works and whether it's right for their child, this live session will offer straightforward information and an opportunity to ask questions at the end. Speaker Rose McLean, pediatric physical therapist and owner of Chicago Pediatric Therapy and Wellness Center, will address: - The philosophy behind ABA therapy - Types of behaviors ABA can address - How to incorporate ABA into your child's schedule - How a child's progress is measured - And much more! Like all of NPN's developmental differences programming, this webinar is free and open to the public! About the speaker: Rose McLean has been specializing in pediatrics since 2004. Upon graduating from Northwestern University with her doctorate in physical therapy, she began her career at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In the creation of the Chicago Pediatric Therapy & Wellness Center, she not only wanted families to have a center where multi-disciplinary communication and therapist collaboration for each child was a priority, but she also wanted recreational and educational programs available for families to access outside of their one-on-one therapy sessions.
  17. Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a daunting task, especially when your child has a developmental difference. You might be wondering if a therapeutic preschool is the best fit for your child. But what is a therapeutic preschool? What does it provide that another preschool doesn't? What should you look for in a therapeutic preschool to know that it is right for your family? In this session you will learn what makes a preschool therapeutic, how traditional therapy is integrated in the preschool environment, the benefits of a therapeutic preschool experience and what questions to ask to make sure you find the best fit for your family. You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. How therapeutic preschools differ from non-therapeutic preschools 2. How parents can evaluate and compare therapeutic preschools 3. What to look for when touring a therapeutic preschool 4. What to expect when transitioning to traditional schools after preschool Our esteemed panel consists of: Lorell Marin, Founder and CEO, LEEP Forward, Dr. Lori G. Tall, Executive Director, Black Bear Academy, Dr. Erin Harvey, Clinic Director and Occupational Therapist, Blue Bird Day, Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Therapeutic Preschool Programing, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool, Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Psychologist, Tuesday's Child We appreciate our Supporting sponsors, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool, and Tuesday's Child A special thank you to our Presenting sponsors, LEEP Forward, Black Bear Academy, and Blue Bird Day
  18. I never considered myself a “Zen” person and during the pandemic I definitely let my emotions get the best of me sometimes. I didn’t always remember to practice self-care and I absolutely got overwhelmed. I don’t meditate in silence on a yoga mat in my personal movement studio. On the contrary, I run around in my sweatpants while chasing after my toddler while two French bulldogs bark in the background. But here’s the thing: If we are always waiting for the “perfect” environment and time to “get Zen,” we may be waiting forever. What is Zen? According to Merriam Webster, Zen refers to a “state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.” This ancient Buddhist practice doesn’t require silence. It can be about finding the quiet within especially when life gets loud, which for those of us with young children can be a daily occurrence. Zen isn’t external and doesn’t rely on only our environment. So I began to wonder what it would take to incorporate more attentiveness, how I could support my intuition, and reclaim the state of calm I so desperately needed. [Related: Ask an Expert: Mindfulness tools for parents] As if I didn’t have enough on my plate during the last two years, I decided to write a book. As a dance/movement therapist, I’ve been working with clients for years, helping them rediscover their mind-body connection in order to reclaim their lives and improve their mental health. Body Aware, which comes out this August, is all about using your movement to support your mental health. That’s when it dawned on me: This is the foundation for cultivating calm attentiveness and learning to trust your intuition. This pandemic has taught me many things, but the most important lesson I have learned is to take care of my mental health, and that begins with how I move and show up in my body. Everyone can access this ability with the right tools and a bit of practice. These may feel elusive, but I’m here to tell you that they are not only accessible, but you already have all the tools you need inside of you. Here is what I have used, what I practice with my clients, and even teach my children. Step 1: Become aware of your current movement Begin to examine how you move on a daily basis. What are your natural tendencies with regard to your posture, facial expressions, and mannerisms? These contribute greatly to your mood and influence how you are thinking. This allows you to connect to what you feel and to begin harnessing that intuition. Step 2: Challenge your current movement Allow yourself to move out of your comfort zone. Try walking at a different pace, taking a different type of movement or exercise class, maybe even trying on different postures. Change your relationship to personal space and try slowing down, especially if you are always used to moving quickly. Step 3: Expand your habitual movement When we move more, we feel more. If we can expand the range and ability of our movement we have the ability to express and feel more emotionally. We can find grounding, calm, and focus. This means we find more opportunities to "get Zen” because we can move through the challenges and overwhelm. [Related: Self-care during COVID: Creating your own pandemic slowdown] This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to harnessing the power of your movement to improve your mental health. Awareness is the key to change, and sometimes even the smallest movement can have the largest impact. So, no need to work on “getting" Zen: simply start by noticing all the ways you can bring Zen into your current life.
  19. until
    Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a daunting task, especially when your child has a developmental difference. You might be wondering if a therapeutic preschool is the best fit for your child. But what is a therapeutic preschool? What does it provide that another preschool doesn't? What should you look for in a therapeutic preschool to know that it is right for your family? In this session you will learn what makes a preschool therapeutic, how traditional therapy is integrated in the preschool environment, the benefits of a therapeutic preschool experience and what questions to ask to make sure you find the best fit for your family. There will be time for Q&A at the end! You will walk away from this discussion understanding: 1. How therapeutic preschools differ from non-therapeutic preschools 2. How parents can evaluate and compare therapeutic preschools 3. What to look for when touring a therapeutic preschool 4. What to expect when transitioning to traditional schools after preschool Our esteemed panel consists of: Lorell Marin, Founder and CEO, LEEP Forward Dr. Lori G. Tall, Executive Director, Black Bear Academy Dr. Erin Harvey, Clinic Director and Occupational Therapist, Blue Bird Day Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Therapeutic Preschool Programing, PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Psychologist, Tuesday's Child Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: LEEP Forward Black Bear Academy Blue Bird Day Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors: PlayWorks Prep Therapeutic Preschool and Tuesday's Child By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsors.
  20. Like most of us, the first month of the 2020 lockdown felt very confusing. After our family had an energy-draining cold while vacationing in Costa Rica, I recall asking myself, “Did I already have Covid-19?” Knowing how many people were losing their lives made the winter of 2020 all the more intense. One of the most heartbreaking moments I felt was when I came to the realization that my kindergartner was going to spend his first year of school on a computer. Remote learning was necessary at the time, but extremely frustrating. In retrospect, that milestone year in front of a screen (while, on occasion, our WiFi tempted our faith) was painful for all of us. My wanderlust suffered as well; canceling anticipated trips was a gut punch. Just imagine: your best girlfriends coming over, all excited about your first girlfriends’ trip together, only to be crashed by a global pandemic! [Related: Self-care during Covid: Creating your own pandemic slowdown] I wanted to scream about the lack of incentives I was used to rewarding myself throughout the year. My stress from working at home and managing the stress of my children led to my weight gain, sleepless nights, and hair loss. As a therapist, other healers like myself experienced our own pandemic trauma on top of providing care to clients and our families. I was in need of some empowerment. During the spring of 2020, I experienced a mental reset. I committed to an intermittent fast and went down to my pre-baby weight. I began to practice yoga and meditation on a daily basis; I felt reborn. A light had been turned on in me that led to a fire that could not be doused. That fire rose after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. My voice as a Black woman became more pronounced in my work and personal life. My connection with my chosen family and momma tribe was stronger than ever because of their support, allyship and authentic empathy. [Related: Help your kids capture memories of this strange year] Being with my family 24/7 has strengthened us in a way that I never could’ve imagined. I learned intimate things about my children that inspired me to start a virtual community for families of mixed backgrounds. (I currently have 2.3K subscribers on my YouTube channel!) It’s been a wonderful outlet for me as a Black mother. It’s been even more inspiring to hear the impact it has had on my viewers and interviewees, as well. I've been humbled by the willingness of estranged family members to participate in family FaceTime on Sundays and Thanksgiving. Taking nature walks with our new puppy provided the movement and vitamin D that was lacking due to quarantine. These intentional practices saved me and my family from going down the path of toxic behavioral patterns. I am so grateful for the shift that occurred when it did. It has prepared us for the return to human interactions. We now have a wide variety of coping skills to keep us grounded, and we're grateful in the acknowledgment that how we feel and think is what is in our control.
  21. until
    Toddlerhood is notoriously known as a time of conflict and stress, but it doesn’t have to be. Many parents sometimes struggle to know how to manage their toddlers’ behaviors and emotional outbursts. Unfortunately, many parenting approaches out there inadvertently strengthen the emotions that drive the tantrum behaviors, perpetuating a vicious cycle of bigger and bigger tantrums. But if parents can learn a different way to respond to their toddlers when emotions begin to get out of control – they can see a dramatic change. With time and a heavy dose of patience, parents can turn the tantrum tide. RSVP required. Please go here to register. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: amber.guenther@smartlovefamily.org
  22. NPN Admin

    Executive Function Coaching

    until
    Beyond BookSmart empowers young people and adults to manage themselves effectively by providing tools, strategies and mentoring that lead to a lifetime of success, allowing them to clarify and achieve what is important to them, be more fulfilled, and contribute to a better world. Join Beyond Book Smart for a live session to learn how executive function coaching can help your child succeed in school and beyond. RSVP here: https://bit.ly/2VMPVgC. Questions? Contact Angela Molloy at amolloy@beyondbooksmart.com. This is an external partner event.
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    Have you noticed a regression in your child—behaviorally, developmentally or socially—since the start of the pandemic? You're far from alone. Join NPN for a webinar on how to detect and manage COVID regression, whether you have a child with special needs or a typically developing child in the crucial development years of 2–5. In this discussion, you will hear from behavioral specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and psychologists about the typical signs that your child may be experiencing developmental regression due to the pandemic. You will also learn about the strategies professionals are using, services that are available, and what activities you can do in the home to combat COVID-19 regression. Our esteemed panel consists of: Dr. Shay McManus, Neuropsychologist, Eyas Landing Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, PhD, Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services Lorell Marin, Founder, CEO & Therapist, LEEP Forward Nicole Cissell, Clinical Director, BGF Children's Therapy Jason Wetherbee, Director of Clinical Services & Program Development, EB Pediatric Resources Special thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Eyas Landing Thank you to our Supporting Sponsors, Comprehensive Learning Services and LEEP Forward By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsors.
  24. I often find myself pondering the cultural differences between Britain and the United States, and how to negotiate these with my kids. While I fully embrace my American citizenship, I also want my children to know and appreciate their heritage. While it may seem like there are many similarities, it’s the little things that require consideration. Language Most people are aware of the language differences. Early on in my parenting journey, I decided to stick with American-purchased books, avoiding spelling confusion. That was an easy decision. But as for pronunciation…I find it hard to ensure that a zee-bra is never a zeb-ra, to the amusement of my family and co-workers. [Related: Take the time to learn how to pronounce 'difficult' names] Toys For a while, I held out against Barbie (like my sister successfully did with her daughter), and sought out traditional, European toys that I remembered from childhood. But my little ones hankered after shiny objects with robotic American accents — and I’ve found myself drawn to the innovative, modern creations too. The verdict? If they provide some level of education or creative play, they’re considered for purchase. Mealtimes Mealtimes, however, are more problematic. Starting with a fork in the right hand was a no-brainer, but introducing a knife caused confusion. For me, the fork should (almost always) be in the left hand, so the knife naturally goes into the right hand. No thinking required. And where does the napkin sit? There is a level of complexity I did not anticipate, so for now, we’re learning together at our weekly “etiquette” lessons — a sight to behold! Food Food is also the subject of discussion in our house. Kid-friendly meals in England consisted of bangers and-mash, bubble and squeak, and Welsh rarebit, which all sound alien to kids born and raised in Chicago. While my eldest loves to try new foods (“these snails are delicious!”), my middle child is very suspicious of “yukky” food with unfamiliar names. By making her my sous chef I’m hoping she’ll embrace new recipes and flavors. Holidays For the most part, we layer British holidays on top of the American ones observed at school. Boxing Day (December 26th) is a bonus day. Likewise, my youngsters get to double dip with British Mother’s Day (observed in March), while St. George’s Day (the English St. Patrick), St. David’s Day (their cousins are Welsh), and Hogmanay (Scottish word for "New Year") all add another dimension to our yearly calendar. Bedtimes When it comes to bedtime, I struggle to align with some of my local counterparts. We start our routine at an “absurdly early” hour. Although like many, I veto electronic toys in the bedroom, opting for books and soft toys that provide comfort and encourage sleep. After the long nights with our first newborn, I am unashamed of my relentless quest for "grown-ups only" evenings. And while we sometimes break our early-to-bed rule for special occasions, we try to keep a schedule even during the summer months. Sharing my traditions, and showing respect for differing customs, is something I can offer to my children. This is as important to me as building new traditions that embrace our changing world. In tandem, I hope these approaches will allow them to become the empathetic and respectful citizens I aspire for them to be. Photo: King's Church International on Unsplash
  25. The relationship a parent has with their child’s teacher plays a big role in their child’s academic success. When a child has a developmental difference, a positive parent-teacher relationship is even more important — as the stakes are significantly higher. To learn more about cultivating a good parent-teacher relationship, we sat down with Jennifer Rosinia, a developmental differences expert at the Erikson Institute. Why is a good relationship with my child’s teacher so important? A good relationship between parents and teachers has been shown to improve a child’s academic achievement, social competencies and emotional wellbeing. And, as it turns out, parents and teachers benefit from a good relationship, too! [Related: How to advocate for your special-needs child in CPS] When parents have a good relationship with their child’s teacher, they develop a greater appreciation for the important role they play in their child’s education, learn more about the school’s academic programs and how they can incorporate them into their home routines. For teachers, a positive parent relationship enables them to focus more on teaching and meeting students’ needs. What can a parent do to foster an effective parent/teacher partnership for a child with developmental differences? Dr. Susan Sheridan of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers three “Cs” for good relationships: communication, consistency, and collaboration. Communication with your child’s teacher should begin with the school year and continue throughout. Introduce yourself and let them know that you want to partner with them. Find out their preferred way of communicating, and then make sure communication is timely, and clear and open. Stay informed about what’s going on in school. Remember: The best communication in a partnership is two-way. Consistency might also be called “being on the same page.” An effective parent-teacher partnership sends a clear and consistent message to the child that they are working together to support their success. Collaboration between parents and teachers identifies and provides strategies to help your child achieve their optimal developmental and learning capacity. Share successes and concerns. Strategize ways to enhance and modify home and school environments. Collaboration means problem solving together, not blaming the other. [Related: Your child received a diagnosis. Now what?] My child has developmental differences. What is the first step I should take to ensure they will receive the support they need in the classroom? Forming an effective partnership with their child’s teacher should be the first step parents take to ensure their child will receive the support they need in the classroom. If a child has significant or complex support needs, parents might also want to seek testing to identify them. Schools are required to address needs revealed through academic testing.   How should I approach conflicts I might have with my child’s teacher about services my child needs? If parents have established an effective partnership with their child’s teacher, approaching conflicts should be relatively easy. The following suggestions might be helpful: ● Begin by talking with your child’s teacher. Starting with, “Can you help me with this?” can sometimes reduce the risk of a misunderstanding. Ask teachers for their perspective, opinion and suggestions, and try to avoid accusations. ● Remind yourself to listen. If you are focused too much on what you want to say, you might miss important information that could help resolve your concern. ● Schedule an observation. Spending time in your child’s classroom watching and listening could give you helpful insights about your child's relationships, activities and services. ● Seek creative solutions together. If you and your child’s teacher have established a good relationship and partnership, you are one step closer to working together to come up with a creative solution. Do not forget to include your child if they are old enough to participate. ● Respect boundaries. When in conflict, it’s easy to cross boundaries. Remember to schedule time to talk. If for some reason you dislike your child’s teacher, take care not to let your child know. You don’t want to disrespect the teacher’s authority. ● Still stuck? Speak with the principal. The principal will serve as a neutral party. They will listen to your concerns, gather information from the teacher, and then help resolve the conflict. If a child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that their parents are afforded a legitimate, authentic opportunity to participate in the decision-making process for their child, and should be encouraged to be active participants in their child’s educational plan. What other steps should I be taking with my public school district to ensure my child is getting the care they deserve/accessing all the available resources? At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships. Get to know your teachers and administrative team. If you can, be active and involved: attend school board meetings, join the PTA, or spend time volunteering in your child’s classroom. Additionally, if your child has a developmental difference, know your rights under the law. To learn more, visiting the Illinois State Board of Education is a good place to start. Jennifer Rosinia is an occupational therapist and child development specialist. She is currently on faculty at the Erikson Institute as a senior instructor. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education and a doctorate in child development from Loyola University and Erikson Institute in Chicago. Photo by Natasha Hall on Unsplash

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